ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday categorically ruled out to be part of any camp politics and urged the international community to make joint efforts for resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict through diplomatic means.
“Pakistan believes that any military conflict impacts the whole region, particularly the developing countries… There is a need to show restraint… Diplomacy cannot be ruled out,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said apprising media of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day Russian visit concluded Thursday.
He told the media that during his three and half hours long meeting with President Putin, the prime minister also presented Pakistan’s viewpoint and also listened to the Russian version from the host president.
He said following the conflict, oil prices had already surged over $100 per barrel besides impacting the wheat prices as Russia and Ukraine were among the largest wheat exporters.
He told media that prior to the prime minister’s Russia visit, a senior level contact was made by the United States wherein Pakistan explained the objective of the visit.
“They asked us a very innocent question and we responded that with respect,” he remarked
Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated the prime minister’s vision that Pakistan would not be part of any camp politics rather focus on its own interests.
“What is in the Pakistan interest is our priority. Today, Pakistan has totally good relations with all NATO powers including the US… We have shifted our foreign policy from geopolitics to geoeconomics. We have to move ahead for regional connectivity,” he added.
Commenting on the debate on the timing of the prime minister’s visit, he said it was well thought out as it followed a detailed discussion with the former foreign secretaries and diplomats who had served in Russia.
To a question, the foreign minister said the prime minister’s visit was not planned keeping in view the Ukraine situation rather it was scheduled earlier in the bilateral context as both the countries had been in constant engagement during the last three years.
The foreign minister told the media that he had been in contact with Pakistan’s embassy in Ukraine and directed him to prioritize the safety and relocation of the diaspora particularly the students.
For their facilitation, Pakistan’s embassy had been shifted to Ternopil city bordering Poland for easy repatriation of the people. However, he denied the rumors of the death of any Pakistani national in Ukraine.
He said during their meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Putin discussed the bilateral relations, regional issues with a focus on Afghanistan and the situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the energy cooperation including the North-South Gas Pipeline project also featured the summit meeting, besides the Islamophobia which the two leaders had also discussed telephonically.
He said the prime minister’s meeting with the Russian Deputy PM of Energy focused on bilateral trade, investment opportunities, and energy cooperation.
He said through a long-term agreement, Pakistan also desired to purchase gas from Russia via Afghanistan to meet its future needs. He said Russia also wanted to establish an energy terminal in Gwadar.
Calling the prime minister’s interaction with the businessmen “fruitful”, the foreign minister said they also showed their willingness to attend an investment conference being hosted by Pakistan in March.